​Taser: Police body cameras are not enough

Police could be 'crushed' by data tidal wave
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Police body cameras are just the beginning of making law enforcement more accountable, Trevin Chow from Taser has said.

Speaking at the Wearable Technologies Conference in San Francisco, Chow said that increased use of wearable body cameras was causing a 'tidal wave' of data, and smarter technology was needed to help sift through the deluge.

Essential reading: How wearable can be a force for good

Taser's Axon range is the market leader for law enforcement wearable cameras, which have again been thrown into the spotlight following the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in the US. A study in Rialto, California in 2013 showed the huge impact that wearable cameras can have, with complaints dropping 87% and use of force by police also dipping by 59%.

While Taser body cameras have only been rolled out in 30 US cities, they are still producing vast amounts of data. Taser stores 3.5 petabytes of data, and is faced with file uploaded to its servers every 1.2 seconds.

"This level of data could crush law enforcement and make it even harder for them to do their job. The situation in this country is dire, but we can help the transparency of the police. But policing in this country is lacking modern tools to do the most basic workflows," Chow said.

Chow revealed that hooking up wearable cameras with other sensors and equipment is essential for increasing the effectiveness of cameras. Automatic camera triggering can be started from the car, activity in the shotgun rack or when the Taser gun is flipped on.

And it's not just simple triggers. Taser is having to develop smart technology including machine learning and language processing to make its wearable cameras smarter:

"We're investing in more than just a camera. We're looking at computer vision, natural language processing and machine transcription to really look at this area, to see how effective we can make these solutions. We need to offer more than cameras to make communities safer," Chow said.

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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